Pro-abstinence Trump appointees overruled HHS experts to end pregnancy prevention program, costing taxpayers millions
Trump administration appointees directed the cancellation of a successful teen pregnancy prevention program, despite opposition from Department of Health and Human Services experts, an NBC News report found.
The federal Teen Pregnancy Program was abruptly ended in August 2017, after seven years spent training more than 7,000 health-care workers and 3,000 organizations, NBC News reports. The $213 million program helped lead to an all-time low in teen pregnancies and had bipartisan and medical expert support.
But HHS employees newly appointed by the Trump administration worked to end it in favor of pro-abstinence programs, NBC News reports. Internal notes and emails obtained by NBC News found that appointees overrode career HHS experts' objections and violated federal laws, making decisions that obstructed the authority of Congress. In one note from July 2017, the director of the Office of Adolescent Health — which oversaw the Teen Pregnancy Program — wrote that she was told that her "responsibility" was to "implement the administration's agenda, whether we like it or not," and that she should "get in line."
HHS officials said that the shuttered teen pregnancy program was ineffective and did not fit within President Trump's proposed budget. Experts counter that a substantial amount of the program's funding had already been invested, and terminating the program meant wasting millions in taxpayer money that had been put towards partially-completed research.
Trump administration appointees included Teresa Manning, an anti-abortion activist, and Victoria Huber, who ran abstinence-only and religion-based sex education programs in Ohio. Read the full report at NBC News.